Place Fell from Brotherswater

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Sorry about the lack of posts recently, been distracted…

I haven’t been going out on big mountain walks for quite a while due to achilles tendon problems. Now I think it’s time to say sod it to the achilles tendon and go walking regardless. For this Cumbria trip, I fancied Place Fell.

Place Fell is a high of modest altitude but big attitude. It sits in a prominent spot at the southern end of Ullswater. I’d been looking for viewpoints around Ullswater for a while and had been thinking of Place Fell but I’d never been up there. The obvious starting point is Patterdale. I chose further up the valley at Brotherswater because I’m a cheapskate and you can park for free there.

You can start out walking through very pleasant woods on a path just next to the road but eventually you’re forced onto the road until Patterdale. This is a handy spot to buy sun cream and a hat in case you’re stupid enough to have come out without either on a sunny spring day. Obviously I would never be that daft.

Over the river now and then up the path to Boredale Hause. Turn left here and follow the steep path to Place Fell’s rocky summit. The spectactular 360-degree panorama includes Ullswater, Helvellyn, High Street, the Patterdale Valley, and Blencathra. It was somewhat spoiled though by the icy cold gale blowing at the top which meant you couldn’t stand in the breeze for more than a few seconds before retreating to shelter. I donned all the clothing I had to try and keep the cold out.

Now to descend northwards towards the lake and the hidden surprise of the Lowther Tea Room. I was heading for what I thought was just another stone barn, to sit and have a sandwich. Only when you’re standing right in front of it do you realise it’s a tea room right by the lake. I didn’t go in (did I mention I’m a cheapskate) but it looked very nice.

The return is on the lakeside path. The trees looked particularly beautiful in their early spring foliage. From the head of the lake, I stayed on the east side of the river all the way to Hartstop for a beautiful day out.

On top of the world

In response to the WordPress Daily Post challenge Atop

This symbol is used on Ordnance Survey maps (the best maps in the world, IMHO) to indicate a viewpoint.

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A full circle, like this, indicates a 360 degree view. Partial views use partial symbols.

Here is the actual spot.

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It’s a low top called Latterbarrow, only about 250m high. The views are, as the map promised, panoramic. The Coniston range, the Langdale range, Helvellyn and Fairfield, Windermere and way off to the Howgills. This view looks towards Crinkle Crags and Bowfell, which have an easily recognisable skyline. The Band, the main route of ascent to Bowfell, is easily visible. The monument doesn’t really lean like that, it’s a consequence of tilting the camera up with a wide angle lens.

The learning point is about finding locations that might give good results. When I go out for a photo shoot I get the OS maps out and pore over them. I’m looking for the direction of sunset and how the terrain might get in the way. Sunsets in Cumbria are often difficult to shoot because of the shadows cast by the mountains. The viewpoint symbol is a useful aid. It usually means an easy to get to spot, not too high, that has a much better view than any other spot in the locality. Obviously the mountain tops have great views but these don’t have these symbols. Unless I’m intending to camp out overnight, I don’t want to be on the mountain top at sunset as I’ll still have to get down again in the dark. Viewpoints marked with this symbol are usually much easier to get down from.

I’ll post the full set of shots when I’ve done the processing.

Tarn Hows

I’d made a trip to the small Cumbria lake of Tarn Hows last autumn. What I didn’t realise on that day was that if I walked about two hundred metres in any direction I’d see the most amazing views. I found out today though, albeit without the amazing autumn foliage colours of last autumn.

The views are panoramic and include the Langdale Pikes, Wetherlam, Coniston Old Man, Windermere, Fairfield and Helvellyn, and Ambleside.

Fire and gold in the Lake District

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We’ve had some bad weather in the last week and I think by the time I manage to get back to the Lake District the peak of autumn colour will be over. I’m not too sad because I managed a couple of good trips while it lasted and here is another. This time the spot was a lesser known modest height called variously Park Fell or Black Fell. Both names are used on the OS map. The location is just south of the entrance to Langdale, grid reference NY 335 023 (approximately). Continue reading

Autumn colour at Tarn Hows

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Autumn colour is fleeting and unpredictable. The peak period only lasts a few weeks and a storm can bring it to a quick end. You really need to get out as often as possible to make the most of it. One of the trips I made was to Tarn Hows, a lake (or tarn, as such things are called in Cumbria) hidden away in the low hills and woods just north of Coniston. I hadn’t been there before so I was taking a chance but the terrain looked promising on the map. In fact it was two tarns for the price of one, the other called Yew Tree Tarn and being right next to the main road to Coniston. Continue reading

Right place, right time, wrong weather

Yesterday I planned a trip to the hills above Kirkstone Pass in Cumbria. I’d checked the map, it looked good. High ground, extensive views, rocks and cragginess. I was worried about the even higher hills immediately across the valley blocking the sun but I reckoned the views south wouldn’t suffer.

You can drive up Kirkstone Pass and park in the car park opposite the pub at the summit. It’s then a pretty short walk up to a ridge/plateau marked on the map as St. Raven’s Edge. This turns out to be full of photographic interest – ponds, dry stone walls, rocky outcrops, and of course panoramic views. Continue reading